Ancient glass fakes and forgeries
Although fine reproductions of ancient Roman glass are sometimes passed off as authentic ancient Roman glass, the Roman glass forgeries have generally not fallen into the area of affordable and often really inexpensive genuine ancient glass. That said, there are fakes and forgeries made from old light bulbs and even forgeries made of plastic! Core formed glass, supposedly Greek Hellenistic and very early Roman glass, has unfortunately been quite widely faked and there are large numbers of such pieces circulating on the market, made in modern times, especially in Syria.
All dealers and most collectors of ancient artifacts are aware that there is extensive forgery of antiquities and particularly of core formed glass.
At first view of photographs shown online when such fakes are offered for sale these might appear to be ancient examples of Hellenistic or early Roman core formed glass vessels but seeing them in one's hands everything about them is wrong. The stylistic details, the shapes, colours and method of manufacture are not consistent with ancient glass.
These pieces have mosltly been acid washed and show the characteristic dull surface reflection quality. There are often parts of the surfaces which have not been acid washed and show a shine which is not like the shine of pristine ancient glass.
Surfaces of fake ancient glass are an even matt without any evidence of age at all. Over a long period of time if left in the soil or in damp conditions the surface of glass objects will show signs of dulling, deterioration or weathering and with the possible formation of a patina. Such signs of deterioration will not usually be uniform and will be more pronounced in a given area of the glass depending on how it has been lying over thousands of years. When such weathering is cleaned off it will leave a rough or slightly rough surface as against the original smooth fire polish. Nothing of this sort is seen on these fake specimens which lurk on eBay in particualr, waiting for the gullible and the poorly informed.
These modern fakes exhibit rapid surface water drying which is uncharacteristic of genuinely ancient glass. The surface layers can be seen to be rather thin and invariable, unlike the thicker and variable surface of genuinely ancient core formed glass.
Inspection internally with a fibre-optic light will usually show evidence of recent scraping out of the soil core and looks very unlike the remnant soil cores and inter-face core/glass slip seen in genuine ancient glass.
The internal aspects of the necks and the rims in genuine ancient pieces are invariably ground and polished off; this is not always seen in these fake pieces.
Ia fair number of fake core formed pices have circulated on the market for several years and appear to come from the hands of a a glass worker in Damascus, Syria.
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